What is Advanced Fee Fraud?
This scheme requires the victim to pay a sum of money in anticipation of receiving a large sum of money or a service that they never receive. Some common examples of this may be a foreign lottery, "found money," or investments. Examples of this include:
- Nigerian Letter Fraud
- The Spanish Prisoner
- The Black Money Scam
All of these instances are variations of the same process. The scam usually begins with a letter or email supposedly sent to a selected recipient (but actually sent to many), making an offer that will ultimately result in a larger payoff for the intended victim. The usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of money or unclaimed gold which he/she cannot access directly, usually because he/she has no right to it. For example, this wealth may belong to the wife or son of a deposed foreign leader. The sums involved are usually in the millions of dollars, and the individual is promised a large share if he/she will assist the scammer in retrieving the money. While the vast majority of recipients do not respond to these emails, a very small percentage do, enough to make the fraud worthwhile.
The fact with this type of fraud is that the promised money transfer never happens because the money or gold does not exist. The scammer relies on the fact that, by the time victim realizes this, he/she has sent thousands of dollars to the scammer via an irreversible wire transfer.
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